Do you find the whole dating thing intimidating? Does age really matter? Dating a house can provide plenty of useful information!
When buying a house, dating them can help provide useful information about the replacement of systems / components and such. Some air conditioners have a life expectancy of 10-15 years, so a house built 10-15 years ago will likely be in need a new air conditioner shortly. Houses built in the 1990’s with organic asphalt roof shingles lasted up to 15 years. Today, they will likely be on their second roof, and perhaps in need of their next. Houses built in 1999 on the other hand will likely not have asbestos containing vermiculite insulation in them.
Here are some clues that may help in determining ages:
Clues Outside the Home:
- Look for dates on manhole covers, sidewalks or curbs
- Quite often a survey of the home will show an original date at the bottom of it.
- Check manuals, installation specifications and warranties on the various systems and components of the home to obtain dates.
- If original blueprints are available, check it for dates.
- Get dates about title to the property from the land registry office.
- Find out when building permits were issued from local municipalities.
Clues Inside the Home:
- Thermopane windows often have a metal strip between the panes of glass with the date of manufacture (check several windows)
- After 1974 or so, look for a sticker on the electrical panel showing the “Date of Possession”. TARION (formerly The Ontario New Home Warranty Program, and before that HUDAC) placed stickers on the electrical panel to identify the warranty period.
- Look for installation stickers or gas tags hanging from gas piping for the furnace and hot water heater. If original, it may be a date indicator. Gas valves inside the furnace cabinet are often date stamped as are blowers / fans for the furnace.
- Look for dates on labels of the electric breaker box. If the UL symbol is on this tag, immediately below it is the month and year of approval, a date within 5 years of installation perhaps.
- Porcelain plumbing fixtures may be date stamped inside. Check the toilet tank lid or inside the tank near the water line. The date inside the tank may be more reliable than the date on the lid because lids may break and get replaced. Again, you must look for other clues to convince yourself that the toilet is an original one. Otherwise, you have only established the date when the bathroom was renovated. A toilet tank or lid without a date stamp means that it was probably manufactured after 1990.
- Raised numbers on iron fixtures or numbers stenciled in white on the underside of bath, kitchen and laundry sinks indicate the date of manufacture.
- Oh yes…if the original homeowner is present, ask them: “When was this house built?”
Dates can be very informative about the home’s systems & components, and assist not only with when replacement might be due, but offer clues as to construction methods, when certain items may have been required by code in it as well as the age of the home itself.
Think you can date a house? Take the Dating Game Quiz now!